Executive Director, Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF)
Jim Chavez is executive director of the Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF), a Colorado nonprofit providing college assistance (including direct scholarship support) and guidance to Colorado Latino students and their families. Established in 1949, LAEF is Colorado’s oldest Latino nonprofit.
Chavez has worked much of his professional life for education-related causes. As a board member and staff member of the Colorado Student Obligation Bond Authority, he was instrumental in creating Colorado’s first prepaid college tuition program, now known as CollegeInvest, and then worked across the U.S. to develop and implement numerous state college savings programs, or Section 529 plans. He began his career as a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young.
Chavez is a member of the board of commissioners for the Denver Housing Authority and a member of the board of directors for the Colorado Nonprofit Association. He is a former trustee for the Clayton Early Learning Center, past board member for the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Corporation, and a past member of the board of trustees for the University of Northern Colorado. He is a graduate of Colorado State University.
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver
Antwan Jefferson is a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. In his work, Antwan teaches in the Human Development and Family Relations program, the Urban Community Teacher Education program, and the Urban and Diverse Communities concentration of the Leadership for Educational Equity EdD program. His teaching emphasizes achieving social justice, increasing an asset-based emphasis on diverse families, and supporting stronger and deeper community engagement in the schooling education of students through the pre-service training of helping professionals and teachers. His research agenda considers the ways that family and community members experience schools and organizations in their communities, including the implications of space, voice, and power in decision-making and not-for-profit organizations and schools. Antwan also is the faculty liaison for community-based partnerships in the SEHD’s Office of Partnerships. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation from CU Denver in 2013, following completion of a dissertation entitled “(Un)Invited Families: Locating the Institutional Power of School at Work Against the Involvement of Families.”
Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Angie Paccione was appointed executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education by Gov. Jared Polis in January, 2019. Paccione has more than 20 years of experience in secondary and postsecondary education. She was a high school teacher, coach, and administrator at Smoky Hill High School before earning a doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. Paccione served on the CSU faculty for nine years as a teacher educator in the “Project Promise” program and conducted research in the teacher education field, examining educators’ life events that led them to commit to issues of diversity and inclusion. Her findings, which informed a teacher preparation program, were published in Teacher’s College Press and have been cited in more than 75 academic papers.
In 2002, Paccione elected to two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, rising to become house majority caucus chair. She served on the education committee during all four years in the legislature, helping guide Colorado’s education environment. In 2006, she ran for U.S. Congress and came within 2.5 percent of unseating the incumbent.
From 2007 through early 2019, Paccione worked for Verus Global, where she specialized in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, talent development, and change management. She has worked with leaders from the shop floor to the C-suite in 40 countries and all 50 states and has co-authored two books on leadership.
Growing up biracial in New York City, attending college in California and residing in Colorado, Paccione bridges many divides. She was raised to believe you can accomplish anything to which you set your mind. Playing basketball at Stanford University and professionally in the 1980s, Paccione likes to say that she is as committed to your success as she is her own.